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COVID-19’s Impact on Buyers

By: Kelly Leighton on in

COVID-19 has changed homebuying practices, and for some buyers, it has impacted their homebuying decisions.

According to Lomardo Homes, buyers’ desired features have shifted as the pandemic has continued. In May 2020, buyers’ most important features were the floor plan, storage space and outdoor living of their future property. By October 2020, the top feature was kitchen size, followed by room size and bedrooms. With all of the additional time at home, buyers are realizing the importance of personal space.

But buyers have to move quickly. About 40% of properties listed have gone under contract in less than two weeks. Most buyers are feeling the pressure, as 77% said they think competition in the housing market has increased since COVID-19, while 73% said a home has gone off market before they were able to schedule a showing or make an offer. Fifty-three percent of buyers said COVID-19 sped up their homebuying process, while 73% said they had to compete with other offers. PAR’s Welcome Home survey found that Pennsylvania buyers reported a greater urgency during this time because of lower inventory. However, 63% said COVID-19 drove them to lower their budget, on average, by $28,400. Yet, 82% said they would go over their budget for their dream home by, on average, $31,000.

On average, consumers reported looking at seven homes before making a decision, taking up about 3.5 months of time searching. Buyers are relying more and more on online searches to find homes. In May 2020, 51% of buyers said their Realtor® or agent found homes for them to look at, 38% found them online and 11% drove by. In October 2020, 65% of buyers found homes online to view, 32% relied on their Realtors® and only 3% drove by.

Eviction Proceeding Timelines Modified

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court made emergency rule changes to some of the timelines relating to residential eviction proceedings before magisterial district judges. These modified rules went into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. After seeking public comment and additional feedback on the modified rules, the Supreme Court recently announced it is modifying the timelines back to their original periods effective Jan. 1, 2022.

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General Assembly Approves Resolution to End Emergency Declaration

Along with this measure, the legislature also passed House Bill 854 on June 9, with new language extending all of the regulatory waivers that had been issued under the emergency order. Those waivers, including one that allow livestreamed education courses to be counted under the rules applicable to in-person courses, are now extended to Sept. 30. HB854 was approved by both the Senate and House of Representatives and now moves to the governor’s desk for his signature.

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